by Mason Kupiainen
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen an increase in female directors given the opportunity to direct more high-profile projects including Wonder Woman, Charlie's Angels, Captain Marvel, and Mulan. Other films like Booksmart, Little Women, and The Babadook get high praise for their quality, as well as being directed by women. However, there have been many other great films from previous decades that were helmed by women that were exceptional, and maybe even better than ones directed today. However, they have not received the same praise or been even mentioned when discussing films directed by women.
Directed by Mary Harron, American Psycho stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a deranged man with a dark secret. By day, Bateman walks around as a businessman but by night, he turns into a grisly serial killer. Based on the controversial book, the film received some hatred for its use of violence against women, with most of it being played off for laughs. The mix of horror with dark comedy makes for a unique tone that hasn’t been replicated since. Bale gives his first Oscar-worthy performance, with an excellent supporting cast including Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe, and Reese Witherspoon.
Beyond the performances, the directing elevates the film to new heights with its memorable shots and scenes. From the monologue scene with Bateman describing his daily routine, to the Hip to be Square scene, American Psycho has been able to implement itself into pop-culture as a cult classic worthy of praise.
Considered one of the greatest action movies of all time, even potentially influencing the Fast and Furious franchise, is unbeknown to many as being directed by a woman. With its thrilling action sequences and iconic performances by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, Point Break has been able to hold its place as one of the greatest action films. Mixing the action with the sports element makes the film stand out from among the other stereotypical action films. It also stands out from other action films by having audiences care for both hero and villain.
Directed by Kathyrn Bigelow, the well-handled action sequences elevated this film and made it one of the defining action films of the decade. Bigelow has since gone on to direct other action films, including The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, proving that she has a knack for action sequences. From the iconic bank robbing scene to the chase sequence, Point Break has continually thrilled audiences year after year.
Shrek has been able to remain a relevant figure in pop culture, especially in memes. With its use of adult humor bundled up in a children’s film, Shrek aged like a fine wine for those who grew up with the animated classic. The voice cast, including Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz helped give life to the animated characters, with Eddie Murphy as Donkey, stealing the show. However, many may not realize the film was co-directed by a woman. Vicky Jenson and Andrew Adamson helmed the project, making it arguably the most popular animated film with a woman heading it.
Punisher: War Zone
One of Marvel’s more forgotten films, Punisher: War Zone was not well-received upon release. Directed by Lexi Alexander, the film takes the spirit of the comic books and presents it on screen in a way that hadn’t been up to that point. Ray Stevenson’s performance as the Punisher stood out from the other incarnations. His interpretation presented the gritty, revenge-fueled anger that wasn’t highlighted in Thomas Jane’s or Dolph Lundgren’s versions.
Although the film is not perfect, nor does it hold up to the quality of the Netflix series, Punisher: War Zone, it was able to tell a simple, straightforward story that was exciting overall. With the exception of Dominic West’s performance as Jigsaw, which was too over the top and cartoonish for the serious story told, the film is still an excellent adaptation of the comic books.
The Hurt Locker
Nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, The Hurt Locker has held up as one of the better war films. A stellar cast including Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Guy Pearce lead the film, only to be outshined by the talent behind the camera. Kathryn Bigelow directed this project and did so in a way that held the tension from the beginning until the final credits. With the filming revolving around defusing bombs, this allowed Bigelow to keep audiences at the edge of their seat, fearing for the characters' lives. The film is also stuffed with great moments and shots that are wonderfully handled.